By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 26, 2012
Besides popcorn and coke, you might soon be able to buy stuff from the dollar store at the local cinema.
To shore up revenue from the loss-making cinema, the landlord is hoping the district will allow them to operate commercial retail there.
Garibaldi Village Property Holdings has already heard from two dollar stores that want to rent commercial space when it becomes available.
“Yes, it’s a possibility,” said Philip Langridge of Churchill International Property Corporation, property manager for Garibaldi Village holdings.
Langridge said the cinema in Squamish would either shut down or lose three of its five screens. Commercial offices of 1,000 sq-ft. could take its place.
It’s something he had been expecting for the past few years now.
Squamish cinema opened seven years ago, and has ever since been leaseed to Metropolitan Theatre Corp, a company based in California.
It wasn’t the money making operation they had hoped it would be. Even the Coke and popcorn sales were diasppointing.
By September 2011, the cinema lease holders owed the landowners $648,073.
Langridge said the landlords talked to other cinema operators to see if they would take over the lease, but all declined.
The plot also thickened with a technological change, with cinemas having to move from reel to digital.
The change meant the lease holders would have to replace old equipment in the cinemas, which could cost $100,000 per screen.
“No cinema lease holder wants to touch it with that kind of cost attached to it,” Langridge said.
Langridge had hoped the district would waive $44,000 in annual property taxes in exchange for the cinema being available for community use, but that request was turned down.
Absentee management was one reason for the cinema’s poor financial performance, he added.
The Whistler cinema, also run by the same California-based company, is also facing same financial challenges, althought it’s not as bad as Squamish, Langridge said.